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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Here's senior editor Mike Wilkening's Week One stock report for the Browns after their 27-17 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday:
MLB D'Qwell Jackson — He was wonderful in his first regular-season game in the middle of Dick Jauron's 4-3 scheme, recording 11 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. Some might have forgotten that Jackson was an impact player before missing most of the past two seasons with injuries. He served notice Sunday that he's still a key component for this defense.
TEs Evan Moore and Benjamin Watson — They presently might create the biggest headaches for opponents defending Cleveland's passing game save for the blocking of OLT Joe Thomas. Moore and Watson are legitimate downfield threats. Watson hauled in a 34-yard TD pass from Colt McCoy, and Moore scored on a two-yard pass from McCoy.
DT Phil Taylor — He was impressive in his first NFL regular-season game, notching six tackles (two for loss). He also knocked Bengals QB Andy Dalton out of the game when he hit him after a pass attempt. Taylor looks to have a very bright future.
Optimism — The Browns were expected to win this season opener. The Bengals were regarded as one of the NFL's worst clubs, if not the worst, entering Week One. Instead, it was Cincinnati bolting to a 13-0 lead and making a strong comeback late to win by 10 points on the road. It's early, but the Browns are again playing from behind in the AFC North.
The Browns' passing game — QB Colt McCoy made a couple of nice downfield throws, but he completed just 19-of-40 attempts (47.5 percent). Outside of Mohamed Massaquoi, the Browns got little out of their wide receivers. Starter Brian Robiskie didn't have a catch (three targets). Overall, the passing offense wasn't as effective as it needs to be.
Pat Shurmur — In his first game as an NFL head coach, the Browns committed 11 penalties and a major defensive gaffe, failing to cover WR A.J. Green on what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown. The Browns' execution cost them dearly on Sunday. That must get fixed, and quickly.